India’s developmental outlook brightens against global gloom

Dr Rakesh Shukla

Dr Rakesh Shukla

Auckland, May 10, 2023

India’s growth story is being projected as an outlook that may perhaps be second to none. 

With its private sector booming and demographic dividends beginning to yield returns, India’s economic outlook is amongst the more positive in today’s fragmented global financial environment.

In a time when countries are struggling with incurred debt, India is poised to lead negotiations to help the developing world recover from unsustainable balance sheets. This in essence is not only a marker of India’s economic strengths but is also quite telling of its political will to project its leadership aspirations in a manner that brings issues of its counterparts to global platforms with concrete solutions.

The global economy

While the global market is on the cusp of stagnant growth, India’s economic projections by international agencies are the sole outliner expected to ride the oncoming financial crunch easily. This also presents itself as an opportunity for India to leverage the situation and present its developmental story to global actors that dominate the arena.

India’s inward-looking policies such as the ‘Make in India’ campaign, which started in 2014, have gained significant momentum in light of global supply chains failing to produce adequate yields during worldwide lockdowns.

The manufacturing sector in India is on the rise, replacing credible players such as China and other Asian giants that held a strong grip on the manufacturing industry globally.

The Indian administration has not only begun its path of boosting manufacturing to 25% of its GDP, but has also begun strengthening its rural economy, an aspect that has been claimed to be the bedrock of India’s developmental story.

Integrating allies

Such growth trajectories would however remain incomplete without showcasing its international will to lead and integrate its allies into the project of its development.

India’s international presidencies of multilateral grouping are in the same light a testimony of its capable leadership. Both forums, the G20 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), of which New Delhi holds the Presidency this year, are bound to impact its endeavours positively.

Its leadership has particularly outlined its commitment to promoting goals as a core agenda while also creating a global environment to cater towards the needs of countries that require a global effort.

Moreover, its global pitch for mutual cooperation has also promoted various agendas that include digital transformation, inclusive development, clean energy, gender equality, sustainable infrastructure and adequate reforms in the international system.

Its quest to channelise its Presidency for a greater push towards the fulfilment of the goals that bring better development of the developing countries is also meant to motivate other like-minded nations in adopting similar strategies at their own levels for overall development.

Domestic achievements

India’s domestic fulfilments too are moving in a positive direction in response to its ambition of promoting the goals as a primary agenda in its objectives. Welfare schemes aimed towards decreasing economic and social inequalities as well as improving healthcare accessibility are playing a significant role in taking it a step closer to living to its global commitments of paving the way for other countries to follow upon.

However, these objectives are also meant to fulfil a specific purpose.

Its Himalayan neighbour in China has been expanding its military and aggressive policies all across its neighbouring regions. Beijing’s stronghold in the global economic sector has prevented many countries from forging greater dependency on China which has time and again forced its influence upon smaller nations.

Thus, invariably India is seen as an alternative in terms of economic might that could potentially deter Chinese dominance in the region to begin with.

This is also projected in the fact that many countries are reconsidering and seeking India as a viable option against China’s growing hawkish approach.

Progress in figures

This is illustrated in the fact that India has been moving towards expanding significantly in industries and sectors that have long been dominated by China and decoupled from Beijing’s influence in its own economy. The chip-making industry is one of the many examples in which investments are being generated rapidly.

The Indian government has recently provided more than INR 16,000 million ($320 million) in incentives for electronics manufacturing in an effort to enhance India’s production capacities to outmatch global competition especially from China.

This has also particularly emphasised India’s semiconductor pitch to create domestic capacities that can ensure not only its independence from global suppliers but also built an international export-oriented market for the same.

The present government’s significant contribution towards infrastructure investments too should be seen as an indication of its innate desire to carve its own developmental trajectory which is motivated by its young population.

Vital sectors such as the manufacturing industries, infrastructure building capacity and its widespread rural economy are on the verge of propelling into the international scene.

However, the question remains to what extent is the international community willing to let India take centre stage at a time when global divisions are widening the cracks further.

In addition to such aspirational growth trajectories, India’s international stand is also taking greater attention in terms of the independent policy that it pursues as a part of its strategic autonomy. This, coupled with the bold position that its military has encapsulated against Chinese misadventures is an approach that is bound to have a positive impact in its endeavour of projecting itself as a global figure.

These projections are not only a testimony of the confidence it imbibes in its future but is also reflective of the growth story it is expecting to ride.

India’s developmental projects will ultimately fuel its bolder and more influential stand in the global arena where a unipolar or bipolar world seems to be diminishing with India bringing its own unique stand to the table.

Dr Rakesh Shukla is a businessman based in Auckland. He was earlier Country Manager (India) for Beca New Zealand and has taught at many tertiary institutions.

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